Augustus stopped in front of a windows before getting out of the building. He had to think. His only possibility was to give time to the kids. To trick Alejandro and his men to follow him instead of searching for the kids.

He though about what route he would take to run. Those were tricky streets, and any bad turn could lead him to a dead-end. He had to try to run to the center of Roseville, and with a bit of luck find the police before being killed.

Damn, it was a bad plan. A very bad plan. Too risky.

Augustus heard the voices of Alejandro and his men getting closer. It was now or never. He jumped through the window and started running towards a side street. He wanted to be seen. In the glimpse of an eye he saw Alejandro and 4 of his thugs. On of them raised his gun, but before he could aim for the Siamese, he had already disappeared behind a corner.

Augustus heard shouts behind him. After a few seconds he noticed that someone was running after him. He just didn't know how many people was chasing him...

-Lucy wait! He's breathing! - said Mike

-What? He's... -said the Khao-Manee

-Unconscious, that's all. Look, he breathes!

Lucy stopped the resuscitation maneuvers on Paulo and looked better. Mike was right, he was breathing. Lucy had simply lost her nerves and though that his friend was dying. Mike took out his I-phone and activated the Latitude application to see the map of the surroundings. Few seconds later he called the 112. Meanwhile, Sandy was making guard near a window, to see if Alejandro or any of his men were coming into the building.

Lucy controlled the state of Paulo. He breathed with difficulty due to the injure. She covered it. Her white fur was stained with blood. The blood of a friend that may die because of her. Paulo, the only one that had always... been there.

She looked again at Paulo, and felt something strange. It was like she had suddenly opened her mind to feelings and toughs she had been evading for years. Suddenly Lucy understood why he refused her when she slept at his house. She understood why he came after her after the Christmas' party, and why she, somehow, expected it.

Paulo did, really, care about her. No matter her mistakes, her attitude or the curtain of anger that covered her feelings. He had always been there to protect her.

He almost died to save her the last night. He could have jumped alone through the waterfall and run away. But instead she forced her to jump, knowing that she would faint. She could not let him die. She couldn't. She couldn't!

-We are inside the only building in the corner of Elmer with Collins. There is a kid injured by a bullet and he is very bad. We need... hello? Hello! Damn it!

Mike looked at his phone. Very low signal.

-Damn! I'm going to try again, I don't know if she heard me...

-Someone's coming! -said Sandy

Lucy and Make approached the window. They saw 2 of their chasers getting close to a window, at a distance of 8 or 9 meters. The three teenagers didn't move, hoping they will go away without noticing them. But one of the men hit the window with his hand, breaking the crystal. It's sound echoed inside the building. It was then that they noticed he had hit the window with a gun. The same man stayed in the exterior, ready to shoot the kids if they tried to flee. The second man got into the building.

-We have to move... we have to move! -whispered Mike.

-What about Paulo? -said Lucy

Crash! The sound of a second broken window somewhere in the building was the response. Mike heard clearly that it was in the opposite corner of the building.

-We are surrounded... -said mike.

Sandy looked around,, trying to calm herself. There should be a way to evade the killers. There should be a way. They had to... hide. They had to hide Paulo too. She sneaked to the closest room, hoping to find... anything. She saw a pile of what seemed to be a big piece of cloth. Some kind of curtain?

-Move Paulo here -she whispered, pointing to a corner of the room- and cover him with that. Then hide.

Mike looked a Sandy, without really listening to her. Why did he permit her to get involved? They were going to be killed. Sandy and Lucy would be raped and tortured in front of him. He knew it! What were they going to do? What?

-Mike, help me! -whispered Lucy, anxiously

-Come on, Maishul, it's our only hope!

Mike finally reacted and helped Lucy to move Paulo, who was still unconscious, and covered him totally with the curtain. It was really their only option: That the thugs would not find any of them. Including Paulo. With a bit of luck, they will suppose the kids weren't in the building.

Lucy looked one more time to the place where Paulo was hidden. She could not see any of the orange fur of the Somali. Maybe the plan would work...

-Lucy! Hide! -whispered Mike.

She moved as silently as she could to the adjacent room. There was a pile of boxes and other debris behind which she could hide, while keeping an eye on Paulo. The silence was so intense that Lucy could hear her own heart beating on her ear. The adrenaline and the dense dark make her imagine dangers on any pile of debris or any deteriorated wall. She took her time to study her surroundings, until she memorized all the little details of the room. It was not only a matter of survival: keeping her mind busy helped her to control the nerves for some more minutes.

The time passed too slowly. She could not hear anything but the creaking sounds of the old building. How could it be that their pursuers were so stealthy? Lucy didn't dare to move a bit, breathing slowly to be sure she was not doing any sound. She looked at the cloth that covered Paulo without seeing any movement. She imagined that her friend had stopped breathing.

Stop it Lucy -she though- stop thinking it.

But she could not stop it. What if Paulo wasn't breathing? She could save him! But if she did, she risked to be discovered. She wanted to do something, but she knew she had to hide. It was like if she was hearing McCain inside her head: "What you are thinking is not logical, Lucy".

She concentrated again on studying the dark room: A part of the wall to her right had lost his paint cover, making an strange form. The door knob was covered with dust and seemed to be loosen. In the ceiling there was a hole. Probably the bulb and the electrical wire were stolen long time ago. The low light that came through a window in the adjacent room created an scary set of shadows that she could already recognize: The closer one was created by a pile of debris. The one to her left was only the shadow of a cracked window repaired with ducktape. The shadow next to the door...

...wasn't there before.

Lucy shrugged in her hide and covered her mouth. It moved slowly and silently, as if it was a ghost. Finally, the owner of the shadow crossed the door. It was a big dog with dark brown fur. He moved really slow, without making almost any noise. In that moment Lucy noticed that what she though where the cracking sounds of the building were, in fact, the wooden planks cracking under the feet of the dog. She didn't move, and when the dog advanced she managed to see his face... and she recognized him.

It was the same dog that attacked them with Alejandro four years ago. The same dog she had kicked in the balls.

And he was armed with a gun.

Lucy kept covering her mouth, terrorized. She didn't want to imagine what this man would do to her if she was found. Breathing slowly, she tried to control where he was going. He didn't seem to have seen her. After all, all the cats are black in the darkness. He walked to the next room -the room in which Paulo was hidden- and looked around. He bent on his knee and studied the floor. What was he looking for? After some seconds, the dog stood up, reached the window and looked through it. Lucy saw him talking in signs with the man that was guarding in the exterior, but she was unable to understand anything. Nodding, the dog turned again...


Without any warning, he destroyed the window behind him. The crashing sound was frightening, loud and sharp as a blade. Lucy covered her head, protecting her only hearing ear from the sound and closing her mouth with strength to not do any noise. She imagined how much Mike should be suffering due to his hypersensitive ears. But she did not even know where he was hiding.


Three more windows were destroyed by the man. The crystals covered the floor of the room. The building became silent again. The dog looked around for some seconds.

-I know you are here kids. Get out so we can... talk this out. No one has to die.

-There was a silence, as if the dog was waiting the teenagers to get out and respond.

We will find you anyway.

He started to search in the room. Behind each pile of debris, each corner, each box. Lucy hid the best she could and prayed for the police would have heard the message and would made it in time. But she couldn't know it. She couldn't. Without looking at him, Lucy heard the dog as he registered the room entirely. She had to hide until the police arrives. She had to hide. She had to...

He was going to find Paulo.

Lucy wide-opened her eyes and risked herself to look again to his chaser. He was going to reach Paulo in a few seconds. He would put out the curtain and kill him. Lucy shivered violently. He was going to kill Paulo. He was going to kill Paulo in front of her! And she felt she could not do anything. She tried to think on an idea, but her mind was screaming; "Keep hiding!".

The man, kicking some cardboard boxes, advanced another step closer to the curtain that covered the Somali. Lucy looked through the window behind the man, hoping to see... anything. The blue light of a police car. Anyone passing through the street to scream for help. Anything! But she knew it will not happen. The dog was going to reach Paulo. He was goinig to kill him. Cold tears of terror and impotence felt over her cheeks. The most stupid ideas ran through her mind. All of them would lead her to death. She knew it.

But she had to try it.

The dog kicked out the last furniture before reaching the position of Paulo.

Lucy looked to the closer door. She looked to the dog. She swallowed. She had to try it. Or she would repent the rest of her life.

The dog bent, about to grab the curtain that covered Paulo.

Lucy closed her eyes, and when she opened them she felt a determination she had never imagined.

Better death than letting him die.

Suddenly, Lucy stood up and ran towards the closer door, making a box fall in her run. The movement caught the attention of the dog. In the glimpse of an eye, Lucy saw him raising his gun to her. Two bullets were shot, impacting in the boxes behind which Lucy was hiding a moment ago. She screamed and crossed the door, taking the first corner she saw. She didn't know where to go, or what to do. She only knew she had to distract them until help arrived.

She took corridor after corridor, room after room, hearing the dog running after her. She only hoped to not find a dead end. Her survival instinct was forcing her to think to any possible exit. Was there a basement? She didn't know! A second floor? Maybe but she didn't know where the stairs could be! And she could not jump through a window without being shot.

When Lucy saw crystals on the ground, she noticed she was running in circles inside the building. She turned to a new room, trying to avoid the one in which Paulo was. She started running through the place in which she hid at first when she saw a movement in front of her.

It was another of Alejandro's men: A cat. The time around Lucy seemed to slow down. She heard her heart, pumping with strength. A sound only broken by the footsteps of the dog behind her. She felt the air, dense and cold, entering inside her lungs. A crystal cracked under her foot, but she didn't feel the pain.

The cat raised the gun.

And Lucy understood she was going to die. She saw, in flashes, all her life. The first time she met Mike. The 2 years she spent alone at kindergarten. How she picked up Mike during years... how she bullied him for years. The night she almost did it with Paulo. The moment in which Paulo carried her, in Acapulco, when she lost her nerves... All the mistakes and stupidities she had done in his 17 years of life. But now it was too late to fix them, to become a better person. She would never have the time to apologize with Mike. She would never have the chance to be with...

The cat aimed the gun to Lucy's head and armed the barrel. Lucy stared at the weapon, unable to move, frozen by the terror. She forgot about the man in front of her. In her eyes, there was only a weapon. The one that was going to end her life.

Yashy and Chirpy crossed through her mind. And her mother. And her brothers. And her fa...


The detonation echoed across the building.

Author's note:

I deserve you an apology for the long wait. I had some problems. The first have been personal matters. But the principal problem that impeded me to complete that chapter was a writer's block. I was thinking during weeks how to save Lucy, Paulo, Mike and Sandy. And everrything I wrote was forced, unoriginal, and unbelievable.

But few days ago I realized something: They didn't have any chance to get out unharmed. They are 4 unarmed kids, one of them heavily injured, against 4 armed men. They don't stand any possibility. No if they refuse to leave Paulo behind.

When I realized it, the chapter progressed on its own.

Good news: Now I have the rest of the fict in my head. Maybe 2 or 3 more chapters remaining until the epilogue.

If you are reading this, thank you for your time! Reviews are appreciated.